Is Microsoft Saying Fuck-You to Multi Gamer Households?

According to Edge Microsoft’s next X-Box console is going to require an always on connection to play games and games may be linked to a gamer tag to stop people reselling their games.

I don’t really care about the resell market, I’ve got games that I’ve had for over 20 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever sold a game. I’ve bought second hand games before, but I guess I’ll live without that.

Sure I’ll be a little annoyed that I can’t get classic titles that are out of print any more, I recently got my other half K.O.T.O.R. 1 and 2 for the X-Box and she loved them.

But what will make me think twice about getting an X-Box 720 if they do this is that I live in a two gamer household, with two X-Box 360s and I don’t buy games just for me to play, I buy them so I can play them as well as my other half. I already find it really irritating that we have to decide who gets to activate the DLC code for a game when we buy one, this happened when I decided to give Mass Effect 2 a shot 3 years after my girlfriend completed it: I couldn’t use the online features because she’d used the code on her gamer account.

But if I can’t play the game at all… Screw you Microsoft I’m not even going to buy your console.

Sony have a way around this, they have a parent account and all other user accounts are sub accounts of that account, so I guess if you activate a game for the parent account it would remain active for the sub accounts.

Microsoft don’t, as far as I can tell, do this. They have a family version of X-Box Live Gold which allows you to pay for 4 accounts to be gold for less money, but they don’t have a system of attributing accounts to a household.

To be fair to Microsoft previously they didn’t let you log the same account onto two different consoles without importing it over which would stop it working on the old console, so they recognise the people might own more than one X-Box, but do they recognise that more than one person might “Own” a game?

I’m not averse to buying two copies of a game to play multi-player, I own two copies of Halo 3 and Borderlands 2, both so that we could play multi-player over 2 consoles, but I really object to buying a game twice so that both myself and the person I live with can play a single player game.

Are Microsoft Doing The Home Media Center Thing Right?

I just saw an article on Edge saying the Microsoft are testing a build of IE9 for the Xbox 360. This lead me to think, maybe Microsoft’s home media hub strategy is working quite well. The infiltrated our homes as a pure gaming device, not having spent much on making the console a media centre apart from video playback from (DVD and DivX) and music playback.

Keeping things simple at the start meant that the X-Box 360 was (and still is) substantially cheaper than it’s Rival the PS3, which meant it got higher market saturation. Now that they have built up a large install base they have started adding features like Streaming Video and now a browser.

Compare and contrast this with Sony’s strategy of releasing a super expensive console  with everything built into it, by gradually adding features Microsoft have sneakily put a media hub into the homes of gamers, and can now negotiate better deals with content providers as they have a large install base.

I own both a 360 and a PS3 and I’ll admit that the only thing I use the PS3 for it media playback (And playing Final Fantasy XIII, but that’s a different story, I initially bought the console because FF13 wasn’t going to coming out on the 360).

Now the X-Box Costs so little and Microsoft are even talking about releasing it as a subscription service ($99 for the console with a 24 month contract), it will probably live on past the release of the next version of the X-Box and continue making them money as a media hub for people who use it to consume media rather than just play games. Then when people upgrade they can take whatever media features they want with them, I doubt MS will reduce the feature set with the Next-Box 360 they’ve already got the licensing agreements, and a revenue stream.

I think it’s possible that Microsoft and Sony had a Tortoise/Hare race going with this generation of the console war, and it’s looking like Microsoft’s Tortoise strategy has has beaten Sony’s Hare brained plans…